Language translation software is used to translate documents from one human language to another. There are three basic types of products: automatic, on-the-fly, and hybrid. Automatic translation software or global translation software is designed to translate an entire document at one time. These machine translation (MT) applications are used mainly with longer documents and may provide multi-language translation. On-the-fly translation software is used to transfer individual words or phrases, typically in shorter documents such as Web pages or email. Hybrid products are not pure translation programs, but provide translation-related tools such as a verb conjugator, dictionary, and spell checker.
Selecting language translation software requires an analysis of system requirements. Most applications are designed to run on personal computers (PC), personal digital assistants (PDA), or cellular phones. For PC-based applications, specifications include operating system (OS), processor speed, random access memory (RAM) and hard disk space. Language translation software that uses a proprietary operating system such as Microsoft? Windows? or Palm OS? may include plug-ins for word processors, web browsers, and email clients. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Palm OS? is a registered trademark of Palm Trademark Holding Company, LLC.
Language translation software differs in term of features such as language, inputs, and outputs. Most suppliers provide programs that can translate English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, or Arabic into one or more languages. Products that can account for variations in American English and British English are also available. Some language translation software is designed to translate written documents into spoken words. Speech-to-speech translators are also available. Custom dictionaries, voice recognition, and pronunciation guides may also be available.
Language translation software is used by localization and internationalization services, business travelers, and corporate communication departments. Localization services and internationalization services provide software and web site localization, multilingual content management, and electronic publishing services. Business travelers who use language translation software often select products that can run on handheld devices. Corporate communications departments can use language translation programs to translate marketing materials, annual reports, and other publications.